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North Blenheim in Schoharie County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Old Blenheim Bridge

 
 
Old Blenheim Bridge Marker - North Blenheim, New York image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, September 27, 2008
1. Old Blenheim Bridge Marker - North Blenheim, New York
Inscription.
Erected 1854 - 1855 by
Nicholas Montgomery Powers
Famous bridge builder
Born Pittsford, Vermont, August 30, 1817
Died Clarendon, Vermont, 1897
This bridge, 232 feet in length, the
longest covered single-span wooden
bridge in the world, was built for the
Blenheim Bridge Company, and was used
as a toll bridge for many years

Not far from this bridge the Tory,
William Beacraft, was whipped to
death by his infuriated neighbors
after the Revolution. He was buried
at the spot where he fell

The bridge is now under the custody
of Schoharie County

 
Erected 1935 by New York State Education Department & Schoharie County Historical Society.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the National Historic Landmarks marker series.
 
Location. 42° 28.354′ N, 74° 26.449′ W. Marker is in North Blenheim, New York, in Schoharie County. Marker is on Eastside Road, on the right when traveling south. Click for map. This marker, and others, are located beside the east portal of the bridge, just off of NYS Route 30 in North Blenheim, New York. Marker is in this post office area: North Blenheim NY 12131, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers.
National Historic Landmark Marker image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, September 27, 2008
2. National Historic Landmark Marker
Old Blenheim Bridge
has been designated a
Registered National
Historic Landmark

Under the provisions of the
Historic Sites Act of August 21, 1935
This site possesses exceptional value
in commemorating and illustrating
the history of the United States
U.S. Department of the Interior
National Park Service
1964
At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Blenheim Bridge (within shouting distance of this marker); Captain Jacob Hager (approx. 1.5 miles away); Manor House (approx. 2.2 miles away); Indian Trail (approx. 3.9 miles away); Gilboa Settlement (approx. 5.6 miles away); The Upper Fort 1777 (approx. 8 miles away); Timothy Murphy (approx. 8 miles away); Site of Battle (approx. 8.1 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in North Blenheim.
 
Regarding Old Blenheim Bridge. The Old Blenheim Bridge was located in the Town of Blenheim on State Route 30 in North Blenheim, Schoharie County, New York. It spaned the Schoharie Creek and was "double-barreled" or had two separate lanes. At 232 feet in length between the stone abutments, this bridge had the unique distinction of being "the longest covered single span wooden bridge in the world" and was one of only six remaining bridges in the world with two separated lanes. It was constructed of Long truss with a center arch. The bridge was built in 1854-5 by Nicholas M. Powers under contract for the Blenheim Bridge Company (inc. 1828) as a toll bridge and retired from use in 1931, and it was named a National Historic Engineering Landmark, as well as a National Historic Landmark, 1935.

It's interesting to note that the bridge was not built in place
National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, September 27, 2008
3. National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark
Blenheim Bridge
[in the shield logo]:
American Society of Civil Engineers
Founded 1852
over the Schoharie Creek as most folks would imagine, but rather was assembled at a site nearby, to insure the pieces all fit together correctly. Afterwards it was disassembled and erected in its former location across the creek.
Local lore has it that while the stone abutments were being built one of the masons was sent to fetch a jug of whiskey. Before they got a chance to open the jug and imbibe, the president of the bridge company, J. Dickinson, who was a "teetotaller" (it's an archaic term by today’s standard, a tetotallar being someone who practices and promotes the complete abstinence from alcoholic beverages) arrived unannounced to inspect the progress of the bridge. The masons were forced to hastily hide the jug in the first available spot which happened to be a niche in the abutment. As work proceeded at a quicker pace under the eagle eye of the company president, who wouldn't leave, the masons were forced to build up the stonework around the jug before it was rescued, and supposedly it remains there to this day.

The picturesque old bridge has had many adventures. It has been afire three times and is now insured like any ordinary house. Twice the roof caught fire from windblown sparks and embers from burning buildings in the village. And once, many years ago, when traveling tinkers went about mending pots and pans, carrying a small charcoal stove to heat
Old Blenheim Bridge Markers image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, September 27, 2008
4. Old Blenheim Bridge Markers
All three markers are located beside the east portal of the bridge, just off of NYS Route 30 in North Blenheim, New York. This marker is the center of the three, the National Historic Landmark marker is to the right of the flag pole, and the National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark is on the very left of this photo.
The sign over the bridge reads, "$500 fine to ride or drive this bridge faster than a walk."
their soldering irons, one of these tinkers went so sleep in the bridge and tipped his stove over. The hot coals ignited the wooden bridge but someone happened along in time to put the fire out and to sober up the "tinker" in the nearby river. – Schenectady Union-Star: Feb. 26, 1930


On August 28, 2011, record flooding along the Schoharie Creek, due to Tropical Storm Irene, resulted in the bridge being washed away and completely destroyed.

The Old Blenheim Bridge is listed as a National Historic Landmark and a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. See the respective pictures here, and the Blenheim Bridge Marker in the "Other nearby markers" section for more information.
 
Also see . . .  Blenheim Covered Bridge Historic Marker. Some very interesting background information on the Blenheim Covered Bridge. (Submitted on September 28, 2008, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York.) 
 
Additional keywords. Covered Bridge Double Barrel Nicholas Montgomery Powers Tory William Beacraft
 
Categories. Bridges & ViaductsRoads & Vehicles
 
Old Blenheim Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, September 27, 2008
5. Old Blenheim Bridge
The south side of the bridge as seen from the stream bed of the Schoharie Creek.
Old Blenheim Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, September 27, 2008
6. Old Blenheim Bridge
This is the west portal of the Old Blenheim Bridge.
Blenheim Bridge Arch Detail image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, September 27, 2008
7. Blenheim Bridge Arch Detail
The old Blenheim Bridge is a double barrel bridge, i.e. it has two travel lanes. There is a structural arch and truss-work running down the middle of the bridge which seperates the two travel lanes. The center arch is made up of three concentric arches of wood, carefully blocked apart so that the air can circulate around the wood.
Blenheim Bridge Detail image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, September 27, 2008
8. Blenheim Bridge Detail
This is a view of the underside of the bidge, looking across the Schoharie creek from the west to the east.
Sign Inside the Old Blenheim Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, September 27, 2008
9. Sign Inside the Old Blenheim Bridge
This sign is mounted on the north wall of the bridge, just inside the west portal. It reads as follows:
In the Spring of 1869 a sever freshet
washed out a wide channel across the western
approach. A wooden extensioin was added to
the Blenheim Bridge to span the new channel.
In 1895 it was replaced by an iron extension.
The wooden Covered Bridge was retired from use
in 1931 and the Board of Supervisors voted to
retain the bridge as a public historial relic.

"Oh No; It's Gone!" image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, September 10, 2011
10. "Oh No; It's Gone!"
The bridge was washed away and destroyed by the raging Schoharie Creek after Hurricane Irene on August 28, 2011. All that remains here now are the abutments on either side of the creek.
Former Old Blenheim Bridge Site image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, September 10, 2011
11. Former Old Blenheim Bridge Site
A row of historic markers on the left detail the history of the missing bridge. The National Historic Landmark stone & plaque are face down, just to the right of the flagpole.
National Historic Landmark Sign detail image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 9, 2007
12. National Historic Landmark Sign detail
Detail view of historic landmark sign, as it appeared before the bridge was lost.
Site of the former Old Blenheim Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, September 10, 2011
13. Site of the former Old Blenheim Bridge
Old Blenheim Bridge Material image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, September 10, 2011
14. Old Blenheim Bridge Material
A pile of wooden debris and crumpled sheet metal roofing lay shoved off to the side of the rood just down stream from where the bridge stood for 156 years.
State Education Department Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 9, 2007
15. State Education Department Marker
1935 Marker placed by the New York State Education Department, with bridge in the background, as it appeared in 2007.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. This page has been viewed 2,076 times since then and 5 times this year. Last updated on , by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on , by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York.   10, 11. submitted on , by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York.   12. submitted on , by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   13, 14. submitted on , by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York.   15. submitted on , by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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